Why does MillerCoors care about water?
At MillerCoors, we know that the availability of clean, high-quality water is critical to our brewing process, from the barley field to the bottling line, which is why we spearhead industry-leading initiatives to conserve water across our value chain. Our sustainability goals center on using water resources sustainably both in our agricultural supply chain and in our breweries, to ensure we have access to this important resource for years to come. Our goals by 2020 include:
• Continuing to reduce our water-to-beer ratio across all our direct operations to achieve an average ratio of 3.0:1.0
• Restoring a volume of water equal to the final product volume from our breweries located in water-stressed watersheds, through stewardship projects that directly contribute to the sustainability of the local water resources.
• Expanding our sustainability programs to manage and reduce agricultural resource risks, including water risks, in 100 percent of our key barley-growing regions.
Talk about the restore goal and what you’re doing in Colorado to protect the watersheds?
We have an ongoing product to help protect and sustain our Golden Brewery’s watershed in Colorado. Colorado’s Front Range forests, which span more than 24 million acres, directly furnish drinking water to more than two-thirds of Colorado’s population. But many of the forests are in poor condition. Years of aggressive fire suppression and prolonged drought have left more than 6 million acres of Colorado’s forests—including 1.5 million acres in the Front Range—at risk for unnaturally large and damaging wildfires. These events pose a serious threat to the quality of drinking water, water storage and infrastructure.
In 2014, MillerCoors, PepsiCo Inc. and the Wells Fargo Foundation donated $1 million to The Nature Conservancy to help reduce the threat of wildfires, improve water security for the Denver metropolitan area and protect water quality in the Golden Brewery's watershed. Forest management activities covering 1,000 to 2,000 acres will be implemented over three years, with an emphasis on thinning overly dense and insect-damaged forests. We anticipate several hundreds of millions of gallons of water will be restored annually through this initiative starting in 2016, while also improving water quality, wildlife habitat and public recreation opportunities
What are some other sustainable practices MillerCoors pursues?
MillerCoors proudly announced earlier this year that all of our major breweries and two major manufacturing facilities are now landfill-free. We currently reuse or recycle nearly 100 percent of our brewery waste and we eliminate excess as much as possible. We send the remaining byproducts to companies that use them for beneficial reuse.
We also work with our suppliers to develop new ways to lighten materials and eliminate unnecessary packaging in our beverage containers. In 2015, we completed the conversion of our Coors Light aluminum can packaging to a smaller end design, which reduces the can’s weight by 13 percent. This conversion also reduced our use of aluminum and decreased carbon emissions.
Our breweries have also made energy reduction a priority, from moving to renewable energy sources to finding methods to optimize energy use. In 2015, we also reduced our total GHG emissions by 22 percent compared to 2010. We will continue to look for ways to decrease our energy consumption and get us closer to our 2020 goal to reduce our value chain carbon footprint per barrel of beer by 25 percent, compared to 2010.